Many household substances have the potential to cause health problems, and even unintentional deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional poisoning ranks second to vehicular accidents, as a cause of accidental deaths. To add to that, poison control centers receive around 2 million calls each year, regarding potential exposure to poisons.
With very alarming reports, parents need to take safety measures in order to prevent a child from ingesting these harmful substances. Here are some tips on how you can prevent poisoning:
1. Make sure that your cabinets have safety locks or childproof latches, so that children will not have access to poisonous substances.
2. All potential poisons like medications, detergents, and chemical products, should be out of your child’s reach. Store potential poisons and food items separately. Potential poisons are best stored in locked cabinets in order to prevent unintentional poisoning. Do not safely assume that storing them in high cabinets is enough to keep your child safe.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers has identified common household products, which may be harmful when ingested in large amounts, or when improperly used. Here’s a list of common household products that can be found in your home:
Kitchen – oven cleaner, drain opener, alcoholic beverages, furniture polish
Bedroom – medicines
Bathroom – toilet bowl cleaner, hair relaxer, perm solutions, nail products,
Garage – pesticides, rust remover, gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, lighter fluid,
lamp oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid
3. Do not let your child play with plants inside your home, and even plants which can be found in your backyard because these may be poisonous. Keep your child away from areas, which have been recently sprayed with pesticides or fertilizer.
4. Never transfer chemical products in other containers like coffee cans, milk containers, soda bottles, or any other food container. Children may mistakenly ingest these items, when they are not stored in their original containers.
5. Always be cautious while using household products when your children are around. You can easily get distracted with other things, which may allow enough time for a child to get curious. If you need to do something while these products are out, take your child with you. Return the products in locked cabinets immediately after using them.
6. Never mix chemical products because it may produce dangerous fumes.
7. If you own an older home, there may be a need to have the paint tested for lead. Be certain that your child’s toys are free of lead paint. You can get information regarding this from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
8. Do not take medicine in front of children, and never refer to these as candy. Children may want more “candy” when their parents are not watching, or when they get an opportunity to get a hold of medicine bottles. If possible, try to keep track of the number of pills left in a container.
If you have any concerns, or if you suspect that any of your family is exposed to poisons, call the poison control center. The number to call is 1-800-222-1222. It is also important to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends the use of syrup of ipecac, to induce vomiting in children who swallowed a poisonous substance.
There are indeed a lot of ways that parents can keep a child safe. Aside from modifying a child’s immediate environment, there is still a need for parents to supervise a child’s activities in order to prevent any accidents from occurring.